Jay Shattuck | Executive Director, Employment Law Council | 217-544-6590


The mission of the Employment Law Council is to effectively represent Illinois employers on employment law issues such as workers compensation, unemployment insurance, employment discrimination, workplace mandates and other management/employee issues. We advocate public policy actions that advance the interests and viewpoints of employers, and to assist in creating a political climate conducive to improving Illinois' ability to create and retain jobs.
The Council accomplishes its mission with the involvement of hundreds of employers who participate in our three committees: Workers' Compensation; Employment Law & Litigation; and Unemployment Insurance.  Through the efforts of these committees we develop policies and strategies that are implemented by the Council and Illinois Chamber staff.
End of Session Wrap-up

The General Assembly finished its business Sunday evening with the Senate concurring to House actions from the day before. They adjourned until the fall Veto Session scheduled to start October 28th.

On May 31 st, the last scheduled day of the legislative session, I was prepared to opine that not since the mid 70's when organized labor passed massive changes to Illinois' workers' compensation and unemployment insurance laws has there been a legislative session so anti-job. However, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (Western Springs) and his 44-member caucus was able to salvage a few key issues for the business community and remove a little of the sting. Unfortunately, I still believe that on employment issues the keys of the state have been handed over to the leaders of organized labor and labor advocacy groups.

It began early in the session following the inauguration of JB Pritzker as Governor. The democrat super-majorities in both chambers approved a four-year phase in of a $15 per hour minimum wage (SB 1). That was followed a few months later with Gov. Pritzker's signing of SB 1596, a measure that undermines the protections for employers from being sued by an employee under the Occupational Diseases Act. The legislative session ended with numerous employment related bills advanced to the Governor this session...more in one session that I can recall in my over 40-year career. A silver-lining  was the involvement of our Council members and our ability to negotiate lesser pain on many of these issues.

Gov. Pritzker Has a Tremendously Successful First Session

Illinois Governor Pritzker's first term will be heralded as a huge success as nearly all of his campaign promises are being fulfilled in the first legislative session of his governorship:

*  Moving Illinois towards a graduated income tax
*  Approving a balanced budget
*  Enacting recreational marijuana
*  Approving a capital budget
*  Expansion of gaming

As for an encore in 2020, it will be difficult for the Governor to match this year's accomplishments.

Recreational Marijuana:
HB 1438, sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), legalizes marijuana for adult use. The legislative sponsors worked and negotiated with the Illinois Chamber to provide the strongest workplace protections for employers in the country. Our goal was met of protecting employers with zero tolerance, drug free workplace and drug testing policies. Based on the final language and legislative intent, we are confident that employers will be free to continue to provide for safe workplaces through their reasonable, non-discriminatory employment policies.  Also, there likely will be additional changes to the law during the fall veto session which is scheduled to start on October 28th. For a summary of the workplace protections contact Jay Shattuck.

Employment Discrimination/Sexual Harassment
SB 75, sponsored by Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) and Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago) became the vehicle for the sexual harassment omnibus bill. Again, Council members input and negotiations with the sponsors helped minimize the impact of the legislation. The enrolled version , in general, provides:
  • Limits the use of employment policies or other agreements intended to prevent an employee from reporting sexual harassment, such as non-disclosure agreements, arbitration clauses, and non-disparagement clauses for cases involving harassment, discrimination and retaliation. During the Senate debate the Senate sponsor indicated thatthe Workplace Transparency Act prohibits unilateral confidentiality and arbitration provisions related to harassment and discrimination, but allows them when mutually agreed upon so long as an employee is made aware of his or her rights in relation to such provisions. The goal is to regulate employer practices to ensure workers are not being forced to accept contract provisions that would make them vulnerable to sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace;
  • Makes harassment against contract employees illegal (currently, these employees do not have legal protection against sexual harassment);
  • Clarifies that it is illegal to discriminate against an employee if they are perceived to be part of a protected class (i.e. gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity), even if they are not;
  • Expands the Victims Economic Security & Safety Act (VESSA) to allow victims of gender violence to take unpaid leave from work to seek medical help, legal assistance, counseling, safety planning and other assistance;
  • Prevents a union representative from representing both a victim of sexual harassment and the alleged harasser in a disciplinary proceeding;
  • Requires employers, labor organizations and units of local government to disclose the number of final adverse administrative or judicial decisions of sexual harassment and discrimination against them to the Department of Human Rights;
  • Requires employers to annually train their employees on preventing sexual harassment. The Department of Human Rights is required to make a sexual harassment training program available for employers to provide to their employees. Adds additional training requirements for employees of bars and restaurants and requires such employers to have written sexual harassment policies;
  • Creates the Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act which will require hotels and casinos to adopt anti-sexual harassment policies and make safety devices available to certain employees; and
  • Makes changes to various public sector ethics laws.
The effective date is January 1, 2020, except (i) the Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act takes effect July 1, 2020; and (ii) the changes to the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act, the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, and the Lobbyist Registration Act take effect immediately.

Employment Discrimination:

Last Action : Placed on Senate Calendar Third Reading (May 9, 2019)
Primary Sponsor : Representative Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago)/Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin)
Summary: Defines "employer" to include any person employing one (instead of 15) or more employees within Illinois during 20 or more calendar weeks within the calendar year of or preceding the alleged violation. Provides that "employer" does not include any place of worship with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion to perform work connected with the carrying on by the place of worship of its activities. Effective date is July 1, 2020.
Last Action : Passed both Houses (May 29, 2019)
Primary Sponsor : Representative Anna Moeller (D-Elgin)/ Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin)
Summary: Amends the Equal Pay Act of 2003 prohibiting an employer from: (i) screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history, (ii) requiring that an applicant's prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria, and (iii) requesting or requiring as a condition of being interviewed or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment that an applicant disclose prior wages or salary. Prohibits an employer from seeking the salary, including benefits or other compensation or salary history, of a job applicant from any current or former employer, with some exceptions. Eliminates key defenses and significantly increases civil remedies and administrative penalties. A Senate amendment to clarify that a wage differential factor that is not based on sex or a factor that would constitute unlawful discrimination under the Illinois Human Rights Act must account for the differential (instead of "the entire differential") was added.
Last Action: Passed Both Houses (May 31, 2019)
Primary Sponsor: Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago)/Rep. Curtis Tarver (D-Chicago)
Summary: Amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to define "arrest record" as (1) an arrest not leading to a conviction; (2) a juvenile record; or (3) criminal history record information ordered expunged, sealed, or impounded under Section 5.2 of the Criminal Identification Act. It amends Section 2-103 of the Act to provide that it is a civil rights violation for any employer, employment agency or labor organization to inquire into or to use (removes "the fact of") an arrest record as a basis to refuse to hire, to segregate, or to act with respect to recruitment, hiring, promotion, renewal of employment, selection for training or apprenticeship, discharge, discipline, tenure or terms, privileges or conditions of employment. Effective January 1, 2020.
Workers' Compensation
Last Action : Passed Both Houses (May 16, 2019)
Primary Sponsor : Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville)/Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora)
Summary: Allows a Commissioner, rather than the Commission, to issue an emergency work-stop order prior to a hearing. Requires the Commission to issue a notice of emergency work-stop hearing when and emergency work-stop order has been issued. Employers with 2 or more violations are prohibited from self-insuring for a period of one year. Moneys in the Self-Insurers Security Fund and in the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission Operations Fund may be expended for salaries and benefits of the Self-Insurers Advisory Board employees and the operating costs of the Board.
Last Action : Public Act 101-6, effective May 17, 2019
Primary Sponsor : Senator Elgie Sims (D-Chicago)/Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville)
Summary: Amends the Worker's Compensation Act and the Workers' Occupational Diseases Act. Provides that specified Sections limiting recovery do not apply to injuries or death resulting from an occupational disease as to which the recovery of compensation benefits under the Act would be precluded due to the operation of any period of repose or repose provision. Provides that, as to any such injury occupational disease, the employee, the employee's heirs, and any person having the standing under law to bring a civil action at law has the nonwaivable right to bring such an action against any employer or employers.
Benefit Mandates
Last Action : Passed Both Houses (May 30, 2019)
Primary Sponsor : Representative Anne Stava-Murray (D-Downers Grove)/Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park)
Summary: Amends the School Visitation Rights Act to prohibit from terminating an employee solely for an absence from work if the absence is due to the employee's attendance at a school conference, behavioral meeting, or academic meeting (rather than a school conference or activity). Effective 8/1/20.
Last Action : Passed Both Houses (May 16, 2019)
Primary Sponsor : Representative Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park)/Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield)
Summary: Amends the Organ Donor Leave Act. Provides that an employer shall not retaliate against an employee for requesting or obtaining a leave of absence to donate blood, an organ, or bone marrow. Amends the Illinois Insurance Act making it unlawful to refuse to insure, to refuse to continue to insure, to limit the amount, extent, or kind of coverage available for life insurance, disability insurance, or long-term care insurance to an individual, or to charge an individual a different rate for the same coverage, solely because of the individual's status as a living organ donor. With respect to all other conditions, as persons who are living organ donors shall be subject to the same standards of sound actuarial principles or actual or reasonably anticipated experience as are persons who are not organ donors. Amends the Illinois Anatomical Gift Act requiring the Secretary of State to create a database consisting of all individuals who have consented to having their names included in the First Person Consent organ and tissue donor registry who have consented to having their names included in the First Person Consent organ and tissue donor registry. Allows an organ procurement organization that has executed a data access agreement with the Secretary of State to have online access to the database to determine whether a potential organ and tissue donor is included in the First Person Consent organ and tissue donor registry. Requires the organ procurement organization to hold harmless the State, its officials, and employees for certain costs arising out of the organ procurement organization's use of the database. Effective 1/1/ 2020.
Last Action : Assigned to House Labor & Commerce Committee (May 14, 2019)
Primary Sponsor : Senator Toi Hutchinson (D)/Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth
Summary: Creates the Healthy Workplace Act requiring employers to provide specified paid time off to employees. While this measure did not advance in the House, we expect negotiations this summer and action on it during the Fall Veto Session.

Last Action : Passed Both Houses (May 8, 2019) should be sent to the Governor no later than June 7th
Primary Sponsor : Representative André Thapedi (D-Chicago)/Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago)
Summary: Amends the Code of Civil Procedure providing that within the discretion of the court, the jury may be asked (rather than required by the court, and must be required on the request of any party) to find specially upon any material question or questions of fact submitted to the jury in writing. Any any party may request special interrogatories. Submitting or refusing to submit a question of fact to the jury may be reviewed on appeal to determine whether the trial court abused its discretion (rather than as a ruling on a question of law). When any special finding of fact is inconsistent with the general verdict, the court shall direct the jury to further consider its answers and verdicts, and if, in the discretion of the trial court, the jury is unable to render a general verdict consistent with any special finding, the trial court shall order a new trial (rather than the former controls the latter and the court may enter judgment accordingly). During closing arguments, the parties shall be allowed to explain to the jury what may result if the general verdict is inconsistent with any special findings. Changes apply only to trials commencing on or after January 1, 2020. Effective immediately.
Last Action : Passed Both Houses (May 29, 2019)
Primary Sponsor : Representative Jaime M. Andrade, Jr. (D-Chicago)/Senator Iris Martinez (D-Chicago)
Summary: Creates the Artificial Intelligence Video Interview Act requiring an employer that asks applicants to record video interviews and uses an artificial intelligence (AI) analysis of applicant-submitted videos to: notify each applicant in writing before the interview that AI may be used to analyze the applicant's facial expressions and consider the applicant's fitness for the position; provide each applicant with an information sheet before the interview explaining how the AI works and what characteristics it uses to evaluate applicants; and obtain written consent from the applicant to be evaluated by the AI program. Prohibits an employer from: 1) using artificial intelligence to evaluate applicants who have not consented to the use of AI analysis; and 2) from sharing applicant videos, except with persons whose expertise is necessary in order to evaluate an applicant's fitness for a position. The Chamber was able to obtain a clarifying amendment.
Last Action : Placed on Senate Calendar Second Reading (May 8, 2019)
Primary Sponsor : Representative Marcus C. Evans, Jr. (D-Chicago)/Senator Ram Villivalum (D-Chicago) 
Summary: Amends the Employment Contract Act prohibiting an employer from requiring as a condition or precondition of employment that an employee or person seeking employment waive, arbitrate, or otherwise diminish any future claim, right, or benefit to which the person would otherwise be entitled under State or federal law. Effective immediately.
Last Action: Passed Both Houses (HB3061-May 30, 2019) (SB 1965-May 23, 2019)
Primary Sponsor : Representative Justin Slaughter (D-Chicago)/Senator Elgie Sims (D-Chicago)
Summary: Amends the Health Care Worker Background Check Act providing that an individual otherwise qualified for and intending to apply for a direct care position who has a disqualifying conviction may initiate a fingerprint-based criminal history record check where a conditional offer of employment has not been made and such a background check has not been previously conducted, and allows those individuals to request a waiver of the prohibition of employment. Allows workforce intermediaries and organizations providing pro bono legal services to initiate a fingerprint-based criminal history record check if a conditional offer of employment has not been made and a background check has not been previously conducted for an individual who has a disqualifying conviction and is receiving services from a workforce, intermediary or an organization providing pro bono legal services. Defines "workforce intermediaries" and "pro bono legal service organizations". Effective immediately.
Last Action : Passed Both Houses (May 30, 2019)
Primary Sponsor : Representative Karina Villa (D-Batavia)/Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago)
Summary: Amends the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act to provide that gratuities are the property of employees and that employers shall not keep gratuities. Requires gratuities to be paid to employees within 13 days after the end of the pay period during which the gratuities were earned. Permits the employer to reduce the amount of a gratuity paid by credit card by a proportionate amount of the fee incurred in processing credit card payments.
Last Action: Public Act 101-1 effective February 19, 2019
Primary Sponsor: Senator Kim Lightford (D-Chicago)/Representative Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago)
Summary: Increases the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 and $13 for those under 18 by 2025. Teen wage is determined as under the age of 18 and working less than 650 hours per calendar year.
Date of Change
Minimum Wage
Teen Wage
Includes a complex payroll deduction tax credit for employers of 50 or fewer employees. Also increases penalties and fines for violation of the Minimum Wage Act. An employee may recover TREBLE damages of any underpayment along with costs, attorney's fees and damages of 5% per month (previously 2%) of the amount of each underpayment following the date of payment such underpayments remain unpaid. In addition, if the employer's conduct is proven by a preponderance of the evidence to be willful, repeated, or with reckless disregard, the employer is liable to the Department of Labor a penalty of $1,500 payable to its Wage Theft Enforcement Fund. The measure also allows the Department to conduct random audits of employers to determine compliance.

Last Action : Passed Both Houses (May 28, 2019)
Primary Sponsor : Senator John F. Curran (R-Willowbrook)/Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville)
Summary: Amends the Attorney General Act. Creates the Worker Protection Unit within the Office of the Illinois Attorney General to intervene in, initiate, enforce, and defend all criminal or civil legal proceedings on matters and violations relating to specified statutes. Provides further powers and requirements of the Attorney General in the Worker Protection Unit. Creates the Worker Protection Task Force. Provides for the purposes and composition of the Task Force. Provides that the Task Force shall submit a report to the Governor and the General Assembly regarding its progress no later than December 1, 2020. Repeals the Task Force December 1, 2021. Modifies provisions concerning the Worker Protection Unit. Specifies that the Unit shall be dedicated to combating businesses that underpay their employees, force their employees to work in unsafe conditions, and gain an unfair economic advantage by avoiding their tax and labor responsibilities. Specifies that the Unit shall have the power and duty to intervene in, initiate, and enforce all legal proceedings on matters related to the payment of wages, the safety of the workplace, and fair employment practices. Provides that the Office of the Attorney General may use information obtained by the Worker Protection Unit for law enforcement purposes only. Modifies provisions concerning the Worker Protection Unit Task Force. Provides that the Task Force shall be coordinated by the Office of the Attorney General to promote a statewide outreach and enforcement effort to target businesses that violate the State's worker protection laws (currently, to target Illinois' underground economy). Adds members to the Task Force.
Last Action: Public Act 101-3 effective April 12, 2019
Primary Sponsor: Sen. Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago)/Rep. Lance Yednock (D-Ottawa)
Summary: Provides that employers and labor organizations covered by the National Labor Relations Act may execute and apply agreements requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment to the fullest extent authorized by the National Labor Relations Act. Provides that it is the policy of the State that employers, employees, and their labor organizations are free to bargain collectively. Provides that the authority to enact laws or rules that restrict the use of union security agreements between an employer and a labor organization vests exclusively with the General Assembly. Prohibits local governments from enforcing any such law or rule. Changes a reference to federal law with respect to union security agreements from a reference relating to requiring membership in a union in conflict with state law to a reference relating to unfair labor practices in connection with membership in a union.

Key Legislation
Upcoming Events

October 8, 2019 - Illinois Chamber Workers' Compensation Annual Conference, Drury Lane, Oak Brook Terrace

December 4, 2019 - Illinois Chamber - ILSHRM Annual Employment Laws Update - more details will be forthcoming 

Connect with the Chamber

¬© Illinois Chamber of Commerce

Not a member and want to learn more about the Illinois Chamber click here to contact Jeanette Anderson